Attack of the Bark Beetles: Fivespined Ips still a problem in Gorge

Workers with Luciano Tree and Maintenance Service remove bits and pieces of a pine tree infested with bark beetles off of Highway 141 near White Salmon on Monday. The California Fivespined Ips began showing up in the Pacific Northwest and infesting trees last summer. Once the Ips, a tiny, black, bullet-shaped beetle, burrows into a pine tree, it digs a “nuptial chamber” and emits pheromones to attract females, up to three of which can visit the male. After mating, the females burrow further into the tree and lay their eggs, at which point the male releases verbonone to let other females know the tree is filled to capacity. After the eggs hatch in the Y-shaped chamber, the larvae feed on the living tissue under the bark of the infested tree. The Washington State University Extension Office identifies infested trees by locating those with what agents call “top kill stem” where the top of the tree begins to turn reddish-brown in color and will not recover from the damage done by the Ips. Chipping any trees destroyed by infestation is recommended to prevent further infestation.

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